Wednesday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time, August 5
As We Journey Through Life, May We Always Reach Out to God As a Child Reaching Out to Its Parent, Being Filled with the Trust That Our Father Will Never Turn Us Away.
In today’s Gospel, we hear our Lord speaking with what appears, on the surface, to be some very harsh words, and about which I had written in a previous Meditation, “It is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.”
Jesus was responding to the repeated requests from a Canaanite woman for a miraculous cure for her daughter as she would cry out, “Have pity on me, Lord, Son of David! My daughter is tormented by a demon.”
But even after our Lord seems to rebuke her, since she was one who came from the land of Canaan, pagan territory in which the Canaanites practiced all forms of idolatry, she responded “Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters.”
At such a public display of faith from a pagan, a display of faith which even outshined many of our Lord’s followers, Jesus commends her, “‘O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.’ And her daughter was healed from that hour.” In her persistence and in her trusting faith, our Lord answered her prayers.
This story begs the question to be asked, “How great is our faith?” Would we give up and walk away discouraged, or do we constantly knock at the door to God’s Heart begging for His help?
When our journey through life takes us through some very difficult patches and some very deep valleys – whether our anguish is the result of the loss of a loved one, a wayward child leaving the faith, a separation or divorce, or maybe even the loss of a job or financial uncertainties due to mounting debts and the inability to pay our bills –
– do we stay focused on our faith and God’s promise to always remain with us, especially when we feel that our heart has been pierced and our spirit is filled with despair due to some very difficult circumstances in life?
In the days of the prophet Jeremiah, he and his people lived through some very tumultuous times! He saw empires rise and fall. He saw good and bad kings reign. The prophet saw times when he was deeply revered and other times when he was hated and scorned.
And through it all, he continued to labor to bring God’s Word to his people. Sadly, however, very few listened to him.
Imagine how devastating it must have been for Jeremiah to see his beloved Jerusalem overrun by the Babylonian army, the Temple desecrated and burnt to the ground, and so many of his countrymen – friends and enemies alike – killed or taken into exile as captives.
But, curiously enough, Jeremiah did not respond with words of despair. He didn’t even affirm God’s judgment on Jerusalem’s sin. Instead, Jeremiah began delivering prophecies of hope and consolation, messages filled with God’s Divine Love and Compassion for the sufferings of his fellow countrymen.
Just at their lowest point, when the people thought God had abandoned them, God proved that His Mercy and His Love are stronger than any darkness – even the darkness of the human heart. And we hear in today’s First Reading, “With age-old love, I have loved you; so I have kept my mercy toward you.”
This is the wonder of our God! He NEVER abandons us! His Mercy IS everlasting, and His Compassion is deeper than any ocean! Even when we have brought evil upon ourselves through selfishness or irresponsibility, our Heavenly Father stands by us, offering us not only His wise correction, but also His healing, His love, and His affirmation.
Unfortunately, sometimes, in the midst of our despair and sorrows, we can lose sight of this Truth, and let our sins and our failings convince us not to try to turn to God for His help and guidance.
But staying focused on the fact that God truly is Love Itself, staying focused on the promises He has made to us, will help us to live the faith which we find in the Canaanite woman in today’s Gospel.
We thus need to revisit the question I had asked earlier – “How strong is our faith?” When times are difficult, when the bills don’t seem to be getting paid, when our children rebel against us, when, in our minds, our crosses start to become too heavy, do we still have a childlike trust and faith in God who can comfort all our sorrows and wipe away our every tear?
Many years ago, I remember visiting an elderly woman in a nursing home. She was always very bitter about her children not visiting her. She knew that this would be her final home in this life, and all she wanted was to feel some sense of love from her children and grandchildren.
When I would spend time with her, I would notice that her bitterness would carry over into her feelings for God. And, yet, we all know that it wasn’t God’s fault that her children didn’t visit. But her resentment only fueled additional feelings of anger and a certain hostility that even God had abandoned her.
Sometimes, the elderly in nursing homes think no one has visited them, when, actually, the opposite is true. They just do not remember due to memory loss. Sadly, there are occasions when some of the elderly are left all alone, and the reasons behind no one visiting them can be either legitimate or not. Only God truly knows what is in the hearts of His children.
The truth of the matter is that God has never and will never abandon those He loves, and He loves each and every one of us – from the time of His creation of Adam to the moment when the last infant is to be conceived in the womb of his or her mother – with a Love which is incomprehensible, a Love which is humanly indescribable. And, in His Love, we become His children and He becomes our Eternal Father!
Saint Paul tells us in his letter to the Galatians, “For through faith you are all children of God in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.”
And being clothed with Christ, we are heirs to His Kingdom – that eternal home which awaits each of us, if only we actively embrace that gift of faith which is freely offered and freely given to His children.
By focusing on God and placing Him as the very centerpiece in our daily lives, we realize that, for our relationship with God to mature, we must also be like God, the giving of ourselves selflessly for the needs of others, for this is how Jesus lived His Life for us – a total selfless giving of Himself, even to the point of death on the Cross!
As we journey through life, with all its many ups and downs, its many peaks and valleys, with all the trials which we are called to endure, may we always look to God as the Source of our strength. May we always reach out to Him as a child reaching out to its parent, being filled with the trust that our Heavenly Father will never turn us away.
And may our faith be as strong as that of the Canaanite woman in today’s Gospel, so that we may hear our Lord commend each of us with the words –
“My child, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “As Israel comes forward to receive rest, from afar the LORD appears: With age-old love I have loved you; so I have kept my mercy toward you. Again I will build you, and you shall stay built, virgin Israel.” (Jeremiah 31:2c-4b)
- “Hear the word of the LORD, you nations, proclaim it on distant coasts, and say: The One who scattered Israel, now gathers them; he guards them as a shepherd his flock.” (Jeremiah 31:10)
- “You shall be my people, and I will be your God.” (Jeremiah 30:22)
- “For through faith you are all children of God in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” (Galatians 3:26-27)
- “The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if only we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.” (Romans 8:16-17)
- “And behold, a Canaanite woman of that district came and called out, ‘Have pity on me, Lord, Son of David! My daughter is tormented by a demon.’…He said in reply, ‘It is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.’” (Matthew 15:22, 26)
- “She said, ‘Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters.’ Then Jesus said to her in reply, ‘O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.’ And her daughter was healed from that hour.” (Matthew 15:27-28)
- “Let us hold unwaveringly to our confession that gives us hope, for he who made the promise is trustworthy.” (Hebrews 10:23)
- “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, on your own intelligence rely not.” (Proverbs 3:5)
- “The Lord does not delay his promise, as some regard ‘delay,’ but he is patient with you, not wishing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)
- “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in his great mercy gave us a new birth to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you who by the power of God are safeguarded through faith, to a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the final time.” (1 Peter 1:3-5)
- “[The LORD] will be with you and will never fail you or forsake you. So do not fear or be dismayed.” (Deuteronomy 31:8b)
Prayer for the Day
“Oh, for the peace of a perfect trust,
My Loving God, in Thee;
Unwavering faith that never doubts
Thou choose what is best for me!
“Best, though my plans be all upset;
Best, though the way be rough;
Best, though my earthly store be scant;
In Thee I have enough.
“Best, though my health and strength be gone,
Though weary days be mine,
Shut out from much that others have;
Not my will, Lord, but Thine!
“And even though disappointments come,
They, too, are best for me,
To wean me from this changing world,
And lead me nearer to Thee.
“Oh, for the peace of a perfect trust
That looks away from all;
That sees Thy hand in everything,
In great events or small.
“That hears Thy voice – a Father’s voice –Anonymous
Directing for the best.
Oh, for the peace of a perfect trust,
A heart in Thee at rest.”